14 July 2014

Wargames Soldiers & Strategy - My Thoughts on this Publication and a review.

Before I rattle on about this magazine. If you have not already done so please help them with their survey it will take 5 to 10 minutes of your time and you will get a 10% online discount voucher for your efforts.
https://surveymonkey.com/s/WargamingSurvey




Right then down to the real purpose of this post and that is my thoughts and a review of this publication as you can see from the picture above I have been reading this regularly since its release. The magazine started life as a Spanish Publication though that changed from issue 54 to the current publishers Karwansaray from the Netherlands and for me the magazine has flourished ever since.

So what has kept my interest so well, I would have to say that above all it is the format and composition of each issue. I feel engaged from the first page of each issue right to the last, even reading the adverts as they are well laid out.

Okay that is sad to admit I read the adverts, but if we think about that for a minute someone has paid good money to attract your attention so if they are skimmed past then the magazine is not a good vehicle for the advertiser!! What is abundantly clear is there is also no favouritism with advert placement as so often is seen in other publications for the hobby and there is no back half dozen page syndrome that when you hit the first one you know the rest is adverts and invariably the reading stops at that point.

Surely there is more to the magazine than good advertising structure that keeps you entertained and you would be very correct a whole lot more !! So let me start at the beginning.

The Editorial.

I have enjoyed my journey with Guy from his early steps as editor to him becoming part of the required reading with comfortable familiarity. I certainly know an awful lot more Sun Tzu quotes now. Recently for the first time I had the privilege of discussing the Warbases Hansom Cab display model that I constructed and painted with him, and have to say it was a very engaging conversation. A very affable gentleman indeed and one I hope to converse with again in the future.

The Theme.

Regular readers will know that each issue is based around a theme or theatre of conflict. This format is a good one and although I don't game every period of conflict known to man I do get a lot of knowledge from the themes articles. What is always a temptation is the overview of suitable miniatures for the theme, (the number of times I have been tempted to make impulse purchases is testament to that). The theme however never dominates the entire magazine to the extent that there is little else to read far from it. Typically each theme has four to six different articles covering a gamut of aspects relevant to the theme.

Miniature Reviews.
This is an unbiased and high quality aspect as far as I am concerned. Always containing honest reviews of figures for a wide variety of historical periods with price details, notes on the scale and internet links. It is often after I have read a review of an intended purchase here that I finally commit or keep my cash.

The Columns.

There are two regular guest columns of Rick Priestly and Richard Clarke. Sometimes they have me fully engaged and sometimes not but that is simply down to my personal choices. What they write about is never dull but just occasionally the subject matter does not command my full attention.

The Features.

This is often an eclectic mix of items but never disappoints and its very nice to see other fellow bloggers having work published. I spend a lot of time reading these articles even the periods I do not play or even intend too. Why? because they are always well constructed and very easy too read and often I have pulled a little gem from one period and put it to use in a period I do play.

Modelling

A great feature that I always enjoy, regardless if it is showing me something new or something I have done a hundred times before, I like these kinds of articles and find myself fully engaged. I will not deny I have learnt many things over the years through this type of article though.

Conclusions and summary

Well time for some good old fashioned honesty here: You see I stopped subscribing to wargaming magazines a long time ago, there were several triggers for this the last one was the farce that turned Wargames illustrated into a glorified admag from cover to cover. Instead I used to make a trip to WH Smiths and purchase copies of magazines that caught my eye or had content I wanted to read. It is funny but in the last two years I have not bought anything other than WSS, I have read other publications but never bought them. This year I was asked what I wanted for Fathers day I had no hesitation in requesting a subscription to the one magazine that really does provide a unique look on our hobby every couple of months. It has something for everyone.

I give this publication 10 Ravens out of 10 as I really cannot fault it at all and am more than happy to pay the cover price for the consistent quality I receive. Further than that it would be a recommended read if its not on your regular purchase list already.

42 comments:

  1. Nice review! I agree it (probably) is the best wargaming magazine out there at the moment. Loads of good articles and the changing themes add nice flavour and are not too commanding in a single issue so that it would be dull if the era doesn't suit your interest.

    Wargames Illustrated is still pretty decent, but it's a bit overpriced considering the content. Though they have been improving again in the last year or so.And still Battlefront content is kept to under 20% or so, and it usually actually gives some nice background info or the like. Vastly better than the crap GW pushes out in White Dwarf :D Though I'd guess just smashing your head on a keyboard would create better content than the WD team does.

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    1. I would like wss to be monthly and retain the quality as I dont rate WI at all it is expensive and of little interest and full of adverts, I doubt it will get back onto my needs list

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  2. This one is a very good magazine, better in my opinion than WI. I have been reading it since their first number!

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    1. Have to agree Juan and excellent publication

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  3. This is THE best Wargame mag, without doubt!

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  4. I have to agree with Ray. It IS the Karlsberg of wargames magazines. Probably the best wargames magazine in the world.

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  5. A useful review - I (and others I suspect!) have been wondering whether to use my 10% discount on a sub. I may take the plunge.

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    1. I would recommend it Highly Edwin, I believe you would enjoy it enormously

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  6. I've done the survey ... and told them I can't stand the bits by Clarke and Priestley, but that's probably just me. Another gripe I have is having to see "Nick Eyre's North Star Miniature Figurines" blazing across pages ~ why do we have to see this blokes name everywhere? what has he actually done for the hobby, except made himself richer. Again, another personal issue, and not solely concerning the magazine in question.
    But, I will say that WSS is a magazine that I'll buy.

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    1. Had to laugh at this, you are of course right in your own thoughts thats why we are all individuals and obviously you like most of the magazine enough to purchase it.

      We can always arrange to float Nick Eyre on one of his pirate ships :)

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    2. He'll be using the North Star for navigation ;)

      My old nickname wasn't Victor Meldrew for nothing :))

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  7. It is a good magazine, sometimes a little too focused on one period maybe?

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    1. Now if they have a future issue dedicated to something like RJW or the Trojan War - now that would be something! :) Best, Dean

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    2. I have to agree with you both, I would love some more Ancient stuff and some pulpy bits too

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  8. A very nice review and a very good wargaming magazine.

    Christopher

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  9. I do agree that it is the best of the bunch. When MW and BG merged I was rather hopeful as we were promised the best of MW and the best of BG. Sadly it has turned into all of BG plus John Treadaway.
    The result is that WSS is the only one I've renewed my subscription to. I may still pick up occasional issues of WI and MWBG at the shops if there is something that interests me.

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    1. I had the same hopes for the MW BG merger and the same dashed expectations!

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  10. Great, honest review. I agree on all counts. I'm sure you are well aware, but have to mention their other pubs are great too. Although I've let my subscription lapse, I was one of the first subscribers to Ancient Warfare mag. Best, Dean

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    1. Yes Dean I am aware just wanted to focus on this particular publication for the post. I have often toyed with a sub to ancient warfare as it is a period I enjoy

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  11. Thanks for the interesting review.

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  12. I enjoy the mag when I can actually lay hands on a copy! In Australia, we only get it sporadically.

    I just picked up Issue 72 the other day, themed around nomad invasions, and found it an entertaining read. Nice shots of the various figures on offer, and the comparison pages detailing the various figs available for the issue's theme are very useful indeed for anyone who wants to venture further into collecting and wargaming the steppe cultures.

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    1. That's what digital editions are for mate!

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    2. I could not have put that any better! or make a subscription to the paper version and have it delivered worth every red cent

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  13. As Evan siad, it can be tough to get a copy at times in Australia

    My only beef is that it is only BiMonthly - I would pay for monthly editions if possible!

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    1. I look at this two ways, bi monthly retains the high quality of each issue and does not then over burden the pocket. That said if it retained the quality and became monthly I would be first in the queue

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  14. It looks a good mag, but I must admit I have drifted away from traditional historical gaming, having had a bit of a rationalization and clear out, and fear if I bought into this I'd be off again into historical genres again, buying figures for all sorts for stuff I'll never get round to painting... might be safer therefore to leave it on the shelf! ;-)

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    1. In your case I have to agree Scott, and for anyone with a weakness for historical eye candy too

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  15. It's a great magazine. I like it a lot.
    cheers

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  16. Interesting review. I have moved away from the magazines really now. Not taken with articles by the various "names" overall. I get a lot more inspiration from the blog o sphere

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    1. I think the blog o sphere has a lot to offer and perhaps the magazines should take some inspiration form us bloggers as we have passion for the hobby and we shout load and hard about the things we like.

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  17. Great review Andrew. I would certainly rate it as the best out there!

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  18. A good, balanced and effective review of what in my opinion is the best currently available on the market.

    Cheers, Ross

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  19. I can not but agree, it is the best magazine and I have had subscriptions to them all. WI is WI, nothing wrong with it and some occasional interesting articles, but not worth a subscription. BG/MW is quite a disappointment, I found BG sort of dull and was hoping that MW merger would liven it up. I will be not renewing my subscription when it runs out.

    I miss Dado and Piombi, I enjoyed that as well, so now for me it WSS.

    John

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  20. Well, that settles it. Time to get the credit card out and subscribe. Thanks Andrew for the review!

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  21. Very good review! I used to subscribe to both WI and WSS but now i have decided to go for WSS only as that magazine some give gives me a better read.

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